You gotta love Washington State in August. The rain takes a vacation, and it's great weather for riding with gorgeous scenery. My last trip up there, my brother Brett and his wife Akiko hipped me to a fun little day run you can take just outside of Seattle.
It started at I-90's exit 25, which led to Highway 18/Snoqualmie Parkway, where we turned left (north). We followed it the 3.5 miles through residential territory to Railroad Avenue (WA-202), then turned left. A quarter mile later, we were pulling away from town when we came to the Snoqualmie Falls, next to the Salish Lodge & Spa. The waterfall measures in at 268 feet and is one of Washington's most scenic attractions (it was featured on TV's Twin Peaks back in the '80s). There's a river trail that winds half a mile downhill through temperate rainforest; just bear in mind it's a steep hike back up. After a brief stop at the falls, we got back on WA-202 and headed north toward Woodinville. This leg is great for casual cruising, with plenty of fruit and veggie stands on the roadside for snacking. After 19 miles of twists amid the summer greenery, we turned right on Northeast 164th Avenue, which is the continuation of the 202. A little over 4 miles later, we took a left on Northeast 145th Street for the half-mile run to our next stop.
Woodinville sits amid farm country, but it wasn't the agriculture that brought us to this neck of the woods but the other local businesses: the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery and the Redhook Ale Brewery, to be exact. Both share the same stretch of road, and while you can tour both, the experiences are vastly different. The winery's more elegant, with plenty of vintages in a variety of prices. Fifteen bucks gets you four sample glasses of your choice. It's not a bad destination in and of itself, especially during the summer concert series, which features some pretty big-name headliners like B.B. King, Counting Crows, Styx and the Dave Matthews Band.
Next was the Redhook Ale Brewery. The tour here costs a buck and lasts an hour or less, but during that time you can sample plenty of brew (especially if you answer the quiz questions correctly). There's also a great restaurant section with really good food (especially the fish). Shortly after catching lunch at the brewery, we were back on the road for the run back to Seattle. If you find yourself touring the Seattle area, this is a great little side trip for the afternoon, but it can also be a romantic ride for couples. B
GPS: Lat 4732'28"N,
GPS: Lat 4745'47"N,
Lodge & Spa
The historic Salish Lodge & Spa is 30 miles from Seattle and overlooks Snoqualmie Falls. Originally built in 1919 as the Snoqualmie Falls Lodge, it catered to travelers visiting the falls with comfort foods and great specialty breakfasts. In 1986, the resort was redeveloped into the Salish Lodge & Resort. Now it's an 89-room facility with a world-renowned dining room and multicourse country breakfast. In the Twin Peaks TV series, the building stands in for exterior shots of the Great Northern Hotel.